Bonding & creating memories with your husband & kids

One way to bond with your husband (and your children) is to share fun, wacky, or unique times together.  When we laugh together, we bond.  When we share a silly or wacky moment together with others, then we bond.  When we share a unique adventure or event, we bond.  Sharing those fun moments brings a smile to our face….and that smile is very healing for relationships!  In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”

To obtain this good “medicine” for your marriage and your family, you need to be intentional.  Get out your calendar and make a note at least every other month to plan a special, wacky, or unique event!  Let me give you some examples of things our family has done together.

We have all dressed up in our pajamas and gone to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  We have hosted costume theme parties where the entire family gets dressed up and comes together for dinner.  We have had dinner with a “lights out” theme, where we could use no appliances for cooking and we had to eat by candlelight.  We did a caveman dinner where all the food had to be eaten without utensils, even pork ‘n beans!!  Be creative.  Be silly.  Laugh.  You will bond and create warm memories.

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Why doesn’t my husband get it?!

Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly?  Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do?  Well, here’s a news bulletin.  He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman!  In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.”  Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!

Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed.  But you do.  Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job.  You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!

I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you.  He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships.  Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week.  You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations.  (Just one caution though.  Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)

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Debunking common relationship advice!

Just recently, God awakened me to a subtle pattern of thinking that was starting to mess with my marriage.  It’s a pattern of thinking that is prevalent in the secular world and it’s even touted by many therapists.  It’s the thinking that says “My needs and desires are important and I need to do what’s best for me.”

Now don’t get me wrong.  My needs and desires do matter.  Your needs and desires are important.  However, when I start to focus on getting my desires met, I can often start creating problems in my marriage.  Ever so subtly, I start to forget about what’s in the best interest of my husband because I’m striving to get what I want, when I want it, and how I want it!  This may be the way the world operates, but it’s not God’s way for us to live.  In fact, God says in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.  Each of you should look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.”

So, before you start pushing for your husband to meet a specific desire of yours, ask God how your request will impact your husband.  Will this be a burden for your husband?  Will this be emotionally, spiritually, or physically draining for your husband?  If so, is this really something God wants you to demand?  Strive for balance.  Look for ways to bless your husband, instead of solely focusing on how he should bless you!

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Childhood sexual abuse and the marriage bed

Unfortunately, there’s a high likelihood that many wives reading this devotional have experienced past sexual abuse, either in childhood or due to a forced sexual situation as an adult woman.  I can relate to this myself.  I was sexually abused by several men over many years of my childhood.  As you probably know, this can cause real problems for you in terms of desiring to be sexually active with your husband.  Yet, it’s so vitally important to build a vibrant sex life with your husband.  What’s a wife to do?

Here are 5 things that have helped me along my journey:

1) Determine in your heart and mind that you will not let evil steal from you yet again.  Evil stole your innocence once before, but decide that you will not cooperate with Satan’s plan to steal the sex life from your marriage.

2) Coach your soul.  The psalmist David often talked to his soul and reminded his soul of truth.  We can do the same thing.  Remind your soul that your husband cares for you….that he will not hurt you…that you are not being forced…that you will actually enjoy loving touch from your husband….that you can relax in your husband’s arms.

3) Ask your husband if he will allow you to be the one who initiates sex.  That way, you will not feel like someone is suddenly forcing himself on you.  (However, you do need to initiate then!)

4) Ask your husband to progress slowly, giving you plenty of time to truly warm to his touch.  In other words, you might need extra time before transitioning from kissing to touching of breasts, etc.

5) Decide not to dwell on the past, but choose to focus on what is good and right and pure in your husband and in your marriage.  This is what Philippians 4:8 tells us:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO ENCOURAGEMENT HERE

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How God can use you to help mold your husband!

If you and your husband are followers of Jesus, then you are both being sculpted.  The Bible says in Isaiah 64:8  “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  God is molding and shaping us each and every day.

God uses many tools to shape us.  He sometimes allows us to make foolish decisions and then experience the natural consequences of those decisions.  Hopefully, we learn something valuable from those painful lessons!  But when it comes to your husband, God has another powerful tool in his tool belt…you!  As a wife, you have the unique ability to encourage your man.  You can choose to be the voice that points out his good qualities.  When you do that, most husbands seem to grow 2 inches taller.  Your words of encouragement often become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for your man.  As you affirm his good character qualities, talents, and spiritual gifts, he feels emboldened to step into those things with more confidence and vigor.

God may even want to use you as a tool to lovingly but firmly confront your husband if he is entrenched in a pattern of sin.  You know your husband better than anyone else, so you’re the one who will likely notice if he is caught in a sinful pattern.  Pray and ask God if He wants you to have a loving conversation with your husband about that sin pattern.  Does God want you to request your husband see a counselor, attend a 12-step group, meet with the pastor, join a men’s ministry?  Does the Lord want you to draw a firm boundary with your husband, thereby putting pressure on him to do whatever it takes to get free from this sin?  (Read Matthew 18:15-17 for more guidance on this)

Will you be a tool in God’s tool belt?  Pray and ask the Lord to show you if and how he wants you to be a tool!

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Influencing your husband with your words

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  That’s the self-fulfilling prophecy repeated over and over again by the little train in the well-known children’s story.  The train faced an up-hill battle, but it encouraged itself by stating positive thoughts out loud.  In the end, the little engine’s encouraging words to itself spurred it on to successfully climb the hill.

Your husband and my husband are both like that little train. They face an uphill battle.  The world tells our men they are failures, that they don’t measure up, that they’’re not good enough.  Satan constantly whispers words of discouragement to our guys.  As a result, our men often stop attempting to grow spiritually.  They often stop taking courageous steps forward in leading their families.  Instead of boldly fighting for justice and integrity, many choose to check out through alcohol, drugs, video games, gambling or pornography.  But WE can be that voice speaking encouragement to our men!  We can say, “I think you can”.  “I know you can”.  “I believe in you”.  “I’m behind you.”  Hebrews 3:13 is a good reminder to us.  It says “Encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that no one is hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

We can help our husbands move from defeat and retreat to a place of exciting victory simply by our words of encouragement.  Will you help your husband be the little engine that could?  I think you can.  I think you can.  I think you can.

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The reward for all your hard work in your marriage!

Sometimes, it’s so hard to stay in the battle for your marriage.  Sometimes, we get weary.  Often, we wonder why we should put in the hard work when no one even notices.  Well, let me remind you that there is someone who notices all your hard work, and you have a reward coming.  In fact, Jesus talks about “treasures” we can receive in heaven.

In the book of Isaiah, God reveals what lies in store for us when we get to heaven…jewels!!!  🙂  He says in Isaiah 54:11-12, “I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli.  I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.”  And, in Matthew 16:27 Jesus says “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”

How do we make sure we have rewards waiting for us in heaven?  During his time on earth, Jesus spoke a lot about receiving a reward in heaven by doing good and righteous things, especially when no one on earth notices!  Interesting.  This means God sees and cares about the hard work you are putting into your marriage.  He will reward you for your acts of kindness, patience, and love toward your husband, even if nobody else notices.  He will reward you some day for the way you persevere during rough patches in your marriage instead of giving up.  There is a reward coming someday, and it will be beautiful.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO ENCOURAGEMENT HERE

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